It’s almost March and you know what that means – the new NRL season is close! We’ve looked into our crystal ball and projected what the entire ladder from 1-16 might look like.
We’ve broken down the teams into three categories: the contenders, the teams making up the numbers and the bottom five.
Here are our NRL ladder predictions for the 2020 season.
1. Melbourne Storm
2. Parramatta Eels
3. South Sydney Rabbitohs
4. Sydney Roosters
5. Manly Sea Eagles
The Storm may not have the same starpower as in year’s past, but with Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith leading the way, will probably always be in contention. Many pundits are hyping up the Eels as flag favourites this year. Well, believe in the hype! Parramatta have arguably the best team on paper with depth in every position.
The Souths will be up there again under the guidance of Wayne Bennett and addition of Latrell Mitchell. Mitchell rounds out a strong core of Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Cam Murray and Campbell Graham. On the other side of town, the Roosters are shooting for their third-straight premiership. The Tricolours are rebuilding on the run but don’t expect to see them slide out of contention.
After returning to finals last year, Manly are probably the biggest wildcard to go all the way in 2020. With the Trbojevic brothers flying the flag, the Sea Eagles could do real damage if they can stray healthy. Click here for the latest Betway Rugby odds.
Making up the numbers
6. Brisbane Broncos
7. North Queensland Cowboys
8. Cronulla Sharks
9. Newcastle Knights
10. Canberra Raiders
11. Penrith Panthers
The Broncos are probably the unluckiest team to be in this crop. While they will likely feature in finals, Anthony Seibold’s side is going through a transition phase and need to add more depth before the can be considered a legitimate contender. The Cowboys are a good team and bring Valentine Holmes back into the fold. However, too often they do or die by Jason Taumalolo. Cronulla have a good mix of youth and experience, but it simply doesn’t look like a title contender on paper.
The Knights, Raiders and Panthers will likely just miss the eight. There will be growing pains with Newcastle bringing in new coach Adam O’Brien, Canberra will struggle to back up their impressive 2019, and the Panthers, well… They just aren’t that good! And the loss of James Maloney will hurt more than many realise.
The bottom five
12. Gold Coast Titans
13. St George Illawarra Dragons
14. Canterbury Bulldogs
15. New Zealand Warriors
16. Wests Tigers
The Titans could push themselves into finals contention this year if the stars align, but must first show something before they can be given such a tag. The Dragons will struggle following the departure of skipper Gareth Widdop to the Super League, and who knows if Jack de Belin will ever play in the NRL again.
There is a bit to like about the Bulldogs, but not enough for them to give the league any sort of shake. Canterbury, along with the Warriors and Tigers, will battle it out for the wooden spoon, with the latter two vastly deprived of talent across their lists.